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Prior To OPEC Meeting, Intense Diplomacy On Oil Prices, Iran

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih (Center), Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak (Right), and UAE's Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed Faraj al-Mazroui (Left) attend a meeting of their Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in November.

As oil prices have fallen and OPEC is due to meet on Thursday, there was a busy diplomatic schedule in Vienna Wednesday on possible oil output cuts and the need to keep supplies with Iran exports declining.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih met with U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook in Vienna on Wednesday, sources familiar with the meeting said.

Hook, a senior policy adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Falih a day ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna which is due to debate oil production cuts.

U.S. President Donald Trump has urged Saudi Arabia to refrain from output cuts in order to keep oil prices low. He said higher oil supplies were a payback from Riyadh for U.S. support for Saudi Arabia against arch-rival Iran.

The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran last month. The measure has severely reduced Iranian oil flows and Washington has said it wants ultimately to drive Iranian shipments down to zero.

But it is not clear if Saudi Arabia will be convinced to keep prices low. Al-Falih also met Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak to convince him to reduce output and help raise oil prices.

Novak told reporters he had held a "good" meeting with his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih on Wednesday and that they would have more talks.

Saudi Arabia has indicated it wants the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to cut output by at least 1.3 million barrels per day, or 1.3 percent of global production.

Reporting by Reuters